Planet Rugby

Irish eyes smile on Exiles and Munster

09th October 2010 17:35

Share:

ogara munster v london irish

London Irish: Too good for Munster

London Irish beat Munster 23-19 in their opening Pool Three clash, but won't be happy the visitors bagged a crucial losing bonus point at the death in a thrilling Heineken Cup encounter.

Top of the Aviva Premiership got the better of top of the Magners League.

English sides have struggled to cope with the intensity and physicality of the top Irish sides in recent seasons, but London Irish proved more than a match for the two-time former champions.

But their evening will have been soured somewhat by the final play of the night, as Munster came up with a last-gasp try almost from nowhere. That losing bonus point could ultimately prove vital.

This was not the awesome Munster of old - missing Paul O'Connell their forwards lacked their customary dominance and their line-out, while not exactly struggling, certainly creaked.

As for Irish, this display will give them great confidence of emerging from probably the competition's toughest group, one which also includes Toulon and Ospreys.

Their victory was built around a solid forward display and the clever prompting of fly-half Ryan Lamb, who got the better of Munster veteran Ronan O'Gara - at least until the final minute.

Try-scoring opportunities were at a premium for both sides, with Munster looking to set up chances for O'Gara's boot. The Exiles were happy to play a similar game and trust in Lamb's goal-kicking.

London Irish also had the better of the contact area, winning a string of penalties as Munster hung on to the ball or failed to roll away.

Munster did make a bright start and took a deserved lead when their early pressure forced a penalty and O'Gara duly knocked over the kick.

But the rest of the half saw London Irish predominantly on the front foot, helped by Sam Tuitupou's 10-minute absence midway through the half for a spear tackle.

They did not threaten the Munster line but did force penalties, Lamb kicking four and a drop-goal in the closing moments, although the visitors had the final say as O'Gara cut the half-time deficit to 15-6.

But London Irish extended that within 30 seconds of the re-start, Johne Murphy's short inside pass on the counter juggled and intercepted by Topsy Ojo, who raced 50 metres to score in the corner.

Lamb missed the conversion from out wide and O'Gara kicked a penalty after Munster forced a scrum-collapse, before putting his next penalty into the corner on the hour mark.

The Munster forwards battered away at the defence in time-honoured fashion and got to within half a metre of the line. Prop Tony Buckley looked set to crash over, but Delon Armitage came up with a superb tackle and a knock-on saved the Exiles.

O'Gara did go for the kick on 68 minutes and cut the lead to 20-12, but Armitage attempted a penalty from inside his own half and made it.

That should have been that, but Munster were deteremined to battle to the end and duly got their reward. David Wallace burst up the centre to open up the defence and O'Gara's perfectly-weighted chip was touched down by Tuitupou.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Try: Ojo
Pens: Lamb 4, Armitage
Drop: Lamb

For Munster:
Try: Tuitupou
Con: O'Gara
Pens: O'Gara 4

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 George Stowers, 7 Declan Danaher, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1. Clarke Dermody (capt)
Replacements: 16. David Paice, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Alex Corbisiero, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Chris Hala'ufia, 21 Jonathan Joseph, 22 Daniel Bowden, 23 Darren Allinson

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Denis Leamy (capt), 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 John Hayes, 19 Mick O'Driscoll, 20 David Wallace, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Scott Deasy

Referee: Christophe Berdos

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821